An Italian anise-flavored liqueur. Sambuca contains essential oils from star anise and contains 42%% alcohol. It is usually served neat or on the rocks, topped with a few coffee beans (said to represent health, happiness, and prosperity). Sambuca may also be added to coffee or served in a shot glass and set on fire for a moment or two to increase its flavor.
Sambuca liqueur is most commonly a clear, colorless liqueur, though is sometimes referred to as "white sambuca" to differentiate it from black sambuca, which comes in a deep blue color, and red sambuca, which is a bright red in color. Several manufacturers have developed green, gold, and pale blue varieties of sambuca under their brand names. Due to the use of essential oils in its production, sambuca has a strong anise flavor and scent.
Selecting and Buying
Preparation and Use
Most often served neat as an aperitif, sambuca is also used in a variety of mixed drinks and can be served over rocks with a couple of coffee beans as a traditional garnish. Other drinks sambuca can be mixed into include coffee, cola, or water for a weakened alcoholic impact. Sambuca may also be used as a flavoring in desserts, including cakes, fruit compotes, and ice creams.
Conserving and Storing
Like most liqueurs, sambuca can be stored without refrigeration provided it is in a cool, dark place and is kept tightly closed. It will keep indefinitely. Avoid lengthy exposure to any heat or sunlight, which may speed the evaporation of its alcohol and create possible discoloration.